Fish­ing deal wel­comed

The Galloway News - - REVELATION -

A Kirkcud­bright scal­lop boat skip­per has wel­comed a deal de­signed to main­tain har­mony at sea.

And Stephen Gir­gan said the Sol­way Code of Con­duct is an ex­am­ple the rest of Scot­land should fol­low.

The in­no­va­tive scheme is de­signed to avoid con­flict be­tween static and mo­bile gear fish­er­men.

It aims to en­sure lob­ster and crab creels do not get snagged by scal­lop dredgers.

Lo­cal in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­cently agreed to up­date and ex­tend the scheme for an­other year.

It will come into force from Novem­ber 1 when the 2018– 19 scal­lop sea­son opens.

Mr Gir­gan said: “This re­gion should be very proud.

“Marine Scot­land has held us up as the gold stan­dard be­cause of the way the code op­er­ates here.

“It’s a shame the rest of the coun­try can’t be so proac­tive.”

The Sol­way Code – ti­tled ‘Phone First’ – sees com­mer­cial in shore fish­er­men from dif­fer­ent sec­tors con­tact one an­other in ad­vance of op­er­at­ing in shared wa­ters.

Keep­ing lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open means static creels can be lifted be­fore other fish­ing ves­sels ar­rive.

West Coast Re­gional In­shore Fish­eries Group chair Alas­tair McNeill, from Dum­fries, helped bro­ker the pro­to­col.

He said: “The code is in its eleventh year and over this pe­riod has largely pre­vented in­ci­dents of gear con­flict from tak­ing place in Wig­town Bay and Luce Bay.

“Last year no events of gear con­flict in these wa­ters were re­ported, mainly due to the pres­ence of the code.

“The dif­fer­ent com­mer­cial fish­ing sec­tors in the Sol­way work in part­ner­ship.

“This en­sures that mu­tual re­spect is shown and in­ci­dents such as gear con­flict are min­imised.”

Luce Bay is a pro­tected area where dredg­ing for scal­lops and trawl­ing is mostly banned.

Dredg­ing in three small sec­tors of the bay is per­mit­ted for four months from Novem­ber 1.

De­tailed co– or­di­nates and maps are pro­vided by the code.

Mr Gir­gan said: “Luce Bay is the only bit be­tween the English Chan­nel and the Isle of Jura that pro­vides shel­ter from south–west­erly gales in win­ter.

“It’s a great bolt–hole and there’s many a Christ­mas we would have had a pretty lean time with­out Luce Bay.”

The code also rec­om­mends scal­lop­ers give prior no­tice of work­ing lo­ca­tions to creel­men and no dredg­ing in a new area be­fore 8am.

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